KPMG, Deloitte Fined for Test Cheating

KPMG, Deloitte Fined for Test Cheating
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The Facts

  • Affiliates of two of the Big Four accounting firms, KPMG and Deloitte, have been fined millions by the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board for allowing cheating on internal training tests.

  • KPMG Netherlands was fined $25M, while its former head of assurance was fined $150K. Deloitte Indonesia and the Philippines were each fined $1M, with its head of professional practice fined $10K and banned from working for an accounting firm for at least three years.

The Spin

Narrative A

These fines are appropriate because KPMG knew about the cheating as far back as 2020 but ignored it until a 2022 whistleblower complaint. The fact that many accounting firms are riddled with ethical missteps is no excuse. Certified Public Accountants have a duty to uphold the highest standards and must be punished and scrutinized until they prove capable of doing so.

Narrative B

Teaching ethics with these exams is foolish. Accountants would be better off learning from experience because the examples these tests pose are too clean-cut. Employees should be allowed to trust their gut and sound the alarm when something feels wrong.

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